'We were a mess': Mother reveals how daughter had stroke at 16 months

A Queensland mother has shared her horror at discovering her toddler had suffered a stroke.

In July 2017, Danielle Starrett’s 16-month-old girl Lilly Anne Starrett-Mcinnes was running around playing.

Lilly’s mum told Yahoo7 she was just learning how to run until the little girl fell over and began to cry.

“So, I picked her up and to comfort her and we noticed her arm was limp and rushed her to Mackay Base Hospital thinking she might have broken her arm,” Miss Starrett said.

Queensland mum Danielle Starrett has revealed her horror on discovering her little girl Lilly had suffered a stroke. Source: Supplied

Doctors couldn’t find a break in Lilly’s arm though, they thought it could have been a fracture and handed her a sling.

“They told us to come back in a week,” her mum said.

But the next day, Miss Starrett noticed the right-side of Lilly’s face had gone numb and she wasn’t using her arm or leg on the same side. She knew something had gone terribly wrong.

The mum rushed Lilly back to hospital. It was determined the toddler would need an MRI, and she was flown to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

Lilly Anne Starrett-Mcinnes before she suffered a stroke. Source: Supplied

The news from doctors in Brisbane was devastating and Lilly’s family were in disbelief.

Lilly, the “cheeky and out-going” little girl had suffered a stroke.

Miss Starrett said her family were distraught on hearing the diagnosis.

“We were a mess,” she said.  

“All we did was cry and asked why her? We thought kids couldn’t have strokes.”

Her mum said Lilly’s body shut down “like a coma”. 

“The doctors told us not to expect much when she woke up,” she said.

When Lilly woke up she tried to walk but was “very stumbly”. She was given a support frame to wear on her right leg after spending six days in the hospital.

She’s still learning how to walk properly with the assistance of a physiotherapist. She’s done more than 10 months of occupational therapy.

“Her muscles have a lot of tone in them – in her right ankle and hand,” Miss Starrett said.

Lilly in hospital after her stroke. Source: Supplied

Lilly’s physio said she’s “slowly getting there” and on Wednesday Ms Starrett said the little girl’s getting botox to “reduce the tone and get more function in her hand and leg”. 

Miss Starrett said doctors don’t know if she will have another stroke and are still unsure what caused the first one.  

“They are guessing maybe there was a blood clot but it dissolved before we got to Brisbane for the MRI,” the mum said.

“She’s on aspirin for two years as a precaution and we have to travel to Brisbane every six months for appointments.”

The mum said doctors had ruled out MELAS syndrome – a hereditary disease affecting the brain.

In the meantime, the toddler is walking on her “tippy toes” and can’t open her right hand.

“But she is still determined not to let it stop her,” Miss Starrett said.

Miss Starrett added she hopes Lilly’s story helps other parents to diagnose their children’s ailments and had advice for anyone concerned about the health of their child. 

“Don’t give up,” she said.

“If you feel something is right keep fighting for your child.”

Lilly is walking with assistance and still undergoing physiotherapy. Source: Supplied

The F.A.S.T. signs of stroke

  • Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms – Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away